This chapter argues that the care of objects could form an important part of care ethics because the performance of the processes involved in their maintenance and repair can be an important vehicle for caring for the self and other people. Applying Fisher and Tronto’s (1990) definition of ‘caring about’ and ‘caregiving’ to processes of caring for objects, it considers how relationships with everyday objects and certain acts of domestic labour become meaningful acts of self-care. The author reflects on her arts practice with care home residents living with dementia, to explore how the everyday act of doing the laundry can be reimagined in arts sessions. She proposes that artists’ performative engagements with processes of caring for objects can have an important role to play in reimagining everyday acts and establishing new models of relational care with and for older people in institutionalised care.
Chapter 3 outlines the theoretical and methodological framework for this
book. It begins by making the case for moving from causal to constitutive
questions in analysing the power of proscription, arguing that refocusing
our attention thus entails greater reflection on proscription’s processes
than outcomes. Upon this we situate our research within constructivist
approaches to the political, before elaborating on our understanding of
three key concepts that structure our empirical investigation: discourse,
identity and political ritual.
This chapter is an enquiry into the possible shape of an aesthetics of care drawn from the experience of looking after a Congolese colleague after he was injured in a massacre in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The mix of different professional and personal circumstances directs the writing towards concerns with the ethics and aesthetics of caring for others and how these relationships might provide a productive orientation for work in the field of community-based performance or applied theatre. The chapter explores debates within feminist care ethics to argue that the relations that emerge in many arts projects can be understood as forms of affective solidarity and mutual regard that, in turn, could be powerful counterweights to the exclusions and disregard in a careless society.
This chapter reflects on an interdisciplinary practice research project, The Verbatim Formula (TVF), based at Queen Mary University of London, consisting of a series of residential workshops with care-experienced young people using verbatim theatre practices. Drawing on feminist care ethicist Nel Noddings’ analogy between aesthetic engagement and the art of caring, the authors reflect on the shared values and aesthetics of acts of care and participatory practices, and how these inhere in the attentiveneness, attunement and receptivity involved in performing and receiving verbatim material using headphone theatre technique. The chapter incorporates testimonies from its care-experienced co-researchers and draws on Joan Tronto’s argument that there is a radical need for an intervention into the dynamics of power in society that ensure that those for whom the structures of care are least effective are heard and attended to. In acknowledging the ‘ugliness’ of caring and the ongoing labour of attunement, listening emerges in TVF both as an aesthetic but also as a care-based participatory and political practice, that aims to empower care-experienced young people to intervene in the structures that represent them and to support adults to honour their experiences and needs.
Political communication and the rise of the agent in seventeenth-century England
The historiography regarding communicative practices in the early modern period tends to involve overly neat trajectories, which map the supplanting of sociable networks by commercial relationships, and trace the decline of scribal culture in the face of a print revolution. At the very least, it has been possible to argue that print became a central mechanism for connecting centre and locality. Of course, scholars continue to debate how best to assess the relative importance of scribal and print genres, as well as the impact of the commercial revolution. What this chapter seeks to argue, however, is that there are other much less well recognised ways of challenging such Whiggish narratives, by questioning the degree to which print was an accessible and unmediated method for obtaining ideas and information, and by recognising the obstacles which continued to undermine the accessibility of print. As such, any appreciation of the significance of the ‘print revolution’ needs to investigate how these obstacles were overcome, and this chapter seeks to highlight the central importance of the professional agent in facilitating a shift from sociable scribal networks to a commercial culture of print, while at the same time making such a change seem much less stark.
The history of marriage equality in Ireland concludes with a note for the future regarding Northern Ireland. The law extending marriage to same-sex couples came into effect in England and Wales on 29 March 2014. On 29 April, a third attempt was made to pass a bill in the Northern Ireland Assembly. The vote lost by 51 against to 43 in favour. The opposition once again was predominantly from by unionist parties including the Democratic Unionist Party, Ulster Unionist Party and Traditional Unionist Voice, with all nationalist MLAs voting in support of marriage equality. This afterword provides an assessment of the current situation.
Beginning with oral history extracts from a white former factory worker, resident by choice in multi-ethnic central Peterborough, Chapter 5 turns to a different source of stories: four books published in 2016 and all based on the lives of Peterborough residents. The books vary from the part-fictionalised biography of a Holocaust survivor as narrated by an EU national and former food factory worker currently resident in the city, through a South Asian cookery book that links Peterborough, Bradford and Pakistan, to the product of a year-long artist’s residency at Peterborough’s Green Backyard and a book of reunion photographs taken across a gap of thirty years that has received worldwide media coverage. Taken together, the four books evoke city residents’ connections across space and time. They show how the ever-shifting present in the city is made, at least in part, by the geographically wide-ranging pasts of its people. They also hint at the opposite: how the work, actions and objects produced by and with Peterborough residents affect, influence and shape other places. While the books are produced by professionals, each of them contains elements of ‘professional amateur’ creativity and the non-elite cosmopolitanism that sits alongside racism and xenophobia in the city.
Chapter 9 provides a background to the formation of Yes Equality, a group dedicated to establishing marriage for same-sex couples. This chapter continues with the announcement of the referendum on marriage equality and an assessment of the campaign in the immediate run-up to the referendum.
An overview of the first stages of seeking the introduction of a Civil Partnership Bill for same-sex couples in 2007. During the parliamentary debates on civil partnerships the issue of whether the Irish Constitution would need to be changed arose. This chapter describes how and why the focus on the Constitution would become the central issue in the legal and political debate surrounding the introduction of civil partnerships and later the extension of civil marriage to same-sex couples in Ireland.
The immigration debate and common anger in dangerous times
Ironically the framing of society as divided between a disaffected working-class (implicitly ‘white’) and a ‘cosmopolitan elite’ is a narrative constructed by writers who are often themselves elite. Chapter 6 challenges the premise of the divisions that they claim to be reporting but in fact frequently promote. It brings together shared histories of mobility and fixity; workplace experiences that produce solidarity across boundaries of ethnic, national, linguistic and faith identities; and struggles for urban citizenship for all residents of a particular place. Being forced to move or stay put is in both cases structured by class inequalities and racisms. As Doreen Massey has argued, this can provide the seeds of ‘common anger’. Moreover, migration is within the experience of people defined as ‘locals’ or ’us’ rather than an action undertaken by a separate category of ‘them’. Yet racisms continue, rooted in colonial history, and promulgated, individually and collectively, by middle-class people and rich elites as well as by some working-class people. Alongside and entangled with such politics, the stories drawn on in this book also collectively portray universal elements of human experience, and thus enable a vision of common humanity that can be a resource for future struggles for equality and justice.